Rule one: Start early
No matter how skilled your bridal make-up artist is, there’s only so much they can do when they don’t have a flawless canvas to work with. If you want to get your skin in shape for your wedding, and keep it that way through the honeymoon, dermatologist Dr Harshna Bijlani’s skin commandments will get you there.
Before the big day:
– “The earlier you start preparing [your skin], the better the results,” advises Dr Bijlani, warning that many brides try new treatments and products too close to the day, which leaves their skin in a worse condition than when they started.
– Adopt a healthy skin routine and follow it religiously. Cleanse, tone and moisturise your skin with products that suit your skin, as recommend by your skin specialist.
– Don’t let the sun damage it any further. If you don’t already wear sunscreen, start now. Dr Bijlani recommends a product with SPF 30 or higher. If you must step out when the sun is at its peak, make like a 16th century grand dame and twirl a sun umbrella.
– Your skin is a reflection of what you eat. “Eat greens, raw fruits and vegetables,” says Dr Bijlani, “Stay away from dairy and sweets to help keep acne at bay.”
– If your skin is seriously acne-prone, Dr Bijlani recommends a regimen with a salicylic acid-based cleanser. “It goes a long way in keeping your skin acne-free,” she says, “And if acne does develop, use a cream containing benzoyl peroxide.”
– For skin that looks dull, add some life to it with creams containing kojic acid, licorice or arbutin. Additionally, add glutathione to your daily vitamin stock. “Glutathione is a master antioxidant.” Says Dr Bijlani, “It can be used to help brighten it and is ideally taken as an IV or orally.”
– While Indian skin is less prone to wrinkles (yay!), the bad news is that it is more prone to pigmentation. “Sun is a strict no-no, especially during peak hours” she says, “Exfoliate at least twice a week. Reapply sunscreen every three hours. Eat a diet rich in antioxidants. Treatments such as peels, polishing, medical facials, lasers and creams can be used, but only under the supervision of a doctor.”
– Trial runs are your best bet against any nasty skin surprises, and this rule applies to both skincare and make-up products. “Doing a trial run with your make-up artist well in advance with the actual products they intend to use is a must.”
– Experimenting with new products or treatments when your wedding is a few days or weeks away is too big a skincare risk. Even for brides who want fillers to enhance their look, Dr Bijlani advises, “Have them done at least a month before the big day so that there is enough time to recover from any mild bruising that may occur.”
On your wedding day
“Wedding stress and heavy make-up can cause acne and in some cases even an allergic reaction, while bright lights and lack of adequate hydration can cause dryness and unevenness to the skin,” says Dr Bijlani. Keep a skincare emergency kit handy to fight any fires that the stress, the harsh lights or heavy make-up could trigger. Stock it with a cleanser, toner and moisturiser based on your skin type, sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher, a good quality make-up remover, tea tree oil for any uninvited pimples and hyaluronic acid for nourishment.
Post the celebrations
– Undo any damage caused by wedding stress by consciously trying to relax and unwind post the wedding. “Focus on getting back to a good, healthy routine with adequate exercise, rest and hydration.”
– When you’re off on your honeymoon, amp up the sunscreen. “One of the most common factors that brides tend to ignore is the fact that sunscreen does not actually stop you from tanning.” Dr Bijlani says, “It only increases the amount of time it takes for yourskin to burn.” So be mindful of how much sun you soak in.
– Don’t abandon your carefully curated skincare regimen now that the wedding is over. The key steps—cleansing, toning, moisturising and using sunscreen every day—are non-negotiable.